Saturday, June 8, 2013

6 Visible Signs That You Are in the Border of North and South Korea

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When I was selected to work in South Korea under the Employment Permit System or EPS of POEA, I first checked the location of my company. In the contract, the address is "Paju-si Gyongi-do South Korea" and I immidiately checked it using the Google Maps. Paju-si is in the Northern part of South Korea and some OFWs told me that the area is in the border, in short a perfect war zone if the Korean war will pursue. Paju-si is where the Korean army base is set to defend the country against North Korea. Regardless, I still signed the contract and to cut the long story short, I arrived at Paju-si Gyongi-do South Korea safe and sound.





I remember how I wished to be assigned in the limelight areas like Seoul or in Gangnam or in places known to many people. Paju is 3 hours away from Seoul via the subway, it's an urban city but quite developed too. I commend Korean Government for paying attention even to the most outskirt part of South Korea.

At first, it didn't dawn on me that I was living in an area where the DMZ or Demilitarized Zone is set, but there are a lot of visible signs everywhere reminding me that I am indeed in an area branded as the border between the North and South Korea. Here are the 6 visible signs that you are living in Paju-si:

1. The Bridge between North and South Korea



You see that bridge? It's a bridge connecting the North and South Korea. I can jog my way to North Korea if I want to but it could be a dangerous idea. A few more steps on that bridge and VOILA!!! Welcome to North Korea. If you are riding a bus or a taxi going to Munsan Market, this bridge is very visible.

2. The Physical border


If you think the word "border" here means some imaginary linings, you are definitely wrong. There exists a physical border and by physical I mean the mighty barb wires. It is literally thin line that you can see at Munsan.

3. The Military Base



At my back is one of the many military bases set here at Paju. This is just a spit away from the company I'm working. ROK armies train and acquire their military education here. I was able to see the perspective of the whole camp but I hesitated to take pictures. What you can see inside the camp are classrooms, dormitories, park, church and basketball court. It's like a small community inside so that they will not be bored during their tenure in the base.

4. The Watch Tower


Not literally watch tower, I just invented the name, but you can see a whole lot of this in the border facing the North Korea area. I haven't seen somebody on post though, maybe when the war commence, this will become active.

5. The Armors


What is a war without the weapons? Machine guns, naval weapons, missiles, etc. Name it and South Korea has it. In fact, you could see these weapons installed in every mountain of Paju facing the North Korea. I don't know if these are actives but I am sure that activating is not a problem if it calls the need to do so.

6. The ROK Armies



You could see them in the bus, you could see them in the subway, you could see them in the market and you walk with them. It's like a living reminder that you are indeed in the war zone. These Korean men in uniform are almost anywhere in Paju, what else can you expect? We are surrounded by military camps.

Paju si may not be the primary choice for foreign workers or even tourists, but I can say that it is more than a privilege to live in this side of South Korea because we can identify whether the war thing between North Korea and South Korea is serious or not, unlike what the TV networks (esp. in the Philippines) is broadcasting. If you are planning to go here in South Korea, why not take time to go up the Northern part and see the area that will defend the whole of South Korea if the war transpires.

36 comments:

  1. It must be something else living close to the DMZ. If a war breaks out all hell will break loose. At least there are signs everywhere reminding you of imminent danger.

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    Replies
    1. actually, it's no difference than in any other arts of South Korea.

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  2. I'm afraid to go to Korea at this time with its many troubles reported on the news. True, Korea may be peaceful unlike what's being covered by the media but it's still scary.

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    Replies
    1. Not at all, the tension between sokor and nokor is way back time immemorial, they are already used to these antics

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  3. wow...looks exciting,at least for me. I heard a lot of stories about that bridge. they said beyond that bridge, you can already see the contrast life of North and South.

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    Replies
    1. true!.. that bridge can take you to a different world

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  4. The hot zone :) No one wins in War. May these two countries find PEACE and consider that they came from 1 race.

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  5. Stay safe at the border. I hope they find a way to get along n Korea.

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  6. as far as i wanted to go to korea to see those things that I see with my friends Photos, I dont wana feel the urge of that I am going to die anytime soon haha. Exage i am and I know that but someday I will! stay safe kuya! =)

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha... it's so peaceful here, promise.

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  7. It looks quiet naman. Though some action would be nice once in a while :D

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  8. You're pretty fearless. I mean, I don't think I would've signed up for a job if it meant being assigned near the North Korean border. I'm that scared. Anyway, this actually made me think if the place I went to was even near that border. Would you happen to know how far Jeonju is from your area? It's 6 hours by bus from the Incheon airport. I was there in 2011.

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    Replies
    1. You have actually traveled down south from the Incheon Airport, so basically you went on the opposite side, that is away from the Northern part

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  9. You must be a brave person to take on a job in an area which could be dangerous if and when hostilities between the two sides of Korea escalate. It is good to know that you find the place peaceful.

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    Replies
    1. Yes maam, hehehe, very peaceful naman here

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  10. Ang tapang mo Bro, Kapg may war, first line of defense ng ROK and at the smae time forst target ng DRNK.

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    Replies
    1. sasali na nga ako sa ROK armies eh.. hehe

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  11. It is both exciting and interesting to live at the border of two warring countries. However, always be on alert because no one knows when will the war begins. Take care bro!

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  12. That's mighty scary to be living that close to the border when the north is always making noise about an imminent attack! The physical border is surely a huge reminder of the boundary. So what happens at the bridge? Are there no cars crossing the border? Looks weird that they have a bridge leading to the other side but perhaps that was made before the 2 started warring.

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    Replies
    1. No, that bridge actually was built after the war, for the possibility of reunion. For now, it is as good as useless

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  13. staying there must be a real challenge but interesting as well ...... is it possible to access the bridge and take a glimpse of North Korea? :)

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    Replies
    1. bantay sarado ang gate to the bridge. I don't know if it needs license or permission to pass.

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  14. Once pa lang ako nakapunta ng Paju... Sa Provence at sa Observatory, yung tower kung saan makikita ang North:-)

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  15. Nobody would know if staying in Korea, more so in the border is life-threatening if you will not dare go and see for yourself. But you are so brave to take this job assignment, I must say.

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    Replies
    1. we must go out of our comfort zone sometimes and be courageous

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  16. Living in the edge huh!
    I feel like youre more excited than apprehensive.
    I'd like to out Korea on my map though, and I'd sure like to see the day when there is no longer any borders dividing this beautiful country.

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    Replies
    1. time will come that they will be united

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  17. Hi Serj, thanks for sharing this. It's a proof that traveling eliminates misconceptions and reveals the reality. I hope you are doing well there.

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    Replies
    1. I am ok here kit, thank you so much for dropping by :)

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  18. Considering this place is a DMZ, you can shoot photos...
    Well, the amazement is coming from a Filipino working in Saudi Arabia, where you cannot take photos of any government offices or buildings or even the policeman or even taking photos in public showing Saudi nationals on y our background... haysss

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's that strict there? Here in South Korea, it's not prohibited to take photos.

      Delete

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